10 “Damn The Man” Documentary Films: A List For Occupying Wall Street

Have you occupied any pre-determined crowd-selected public spaces lately? Do you plan to? Are you a bit annoyed with the corporate takeover of American government, extreme wealth inequity and the mishandling of taxpayer-subsidized Wall Street bailouts? Sure you are! (No seriously what’s happening right now feels, oddly, like a dream come true.)

But why be annoyed when you could get ANGRY?! The best way to prepare for this kind of thing is to get as riled up as possible. I personally attribute at least 50% of my knowledge about Corruption and Corporate America to documentaries.

TTen Movies To Get You Really Riled Up And Ready to Occupy Something


Inside Job


This Academy-Award winning documentary, directed by Charles Ferguson and narrated by Matt Damon, is where you must begin with your journey towards Total Outrage.

The Director’s Statement:

“This film attempts to provide a comprehensive portrayal of an extremely important and timely subject: the worst financial crisis since the Depression, which continues to haunt us via Europe’s debt problems and global financial instability. It was a completely avoidable crisis; indeed for 40 years after the reforms following the Great Depression, the United States did not have a single financial crisis. However, the progressive deregulation of the financial sector since the 1980s gave rise to an increasingly criminal industry, whose “innovations” have produced a succession of financial crises. Each crisis has been worse than the last; and yet, due to the industry’s increasing wealth and power, each crisis has seen few people go to prison. In the case of this crisis, nobody has gone to prison, despite fraud that caused trillions of dollars in losses. I hope that the film, in less than two hours, will enable everyone to understand the fundamental nature and causes of this problem. It is also my hope that, whatever political opinions individual viewers may have, that after seeing this film we can all agree on the importance of restoring honesty and stability to our financial system, and of holding accountable those to destroyed it.”




Casino Jack and the United States of Money


Julie & Brandy in Your Box Office “Season One: The Sh*t You Didn’t See” contains excerpts from the abandoned episode wherein Julie & Brandy attended Casino Jack and the United States of Money and then wanted to punch people in the face. The film explains all the shady behind-the-scenes shit that fueled the economic crisis of 2008, led by one douchebag named Jack Abramoff, who spent like a minute in jail for all this crap.




Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Prices


I wrote about this film a while ago and I said it then and I’ll say it again now — you need to see this. It’s the epitome of what Occupy Wall Street is protesting against. I tend to be too poor to vote with my wallet in general, but Wal-Mart is one store I will never shop in again, ever.






So everyone has mixed feelings about Michael Moore and many have really strong negative feelings about Michael Moore but this is a good movie. It’s about health care, obviously, but it’s also really about how the lack of free health care is what drives the sort of ruthless capitalism most Americans have no choice but to participate in — because getting a certain kind of job is literally a matter of life or death.




The One Percent

watch on youtube [it’s also on netflix instant watch]

In 2003, 20-year-old Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical empire, upset his family and a handful of other mega-rich people with Born Rich, a Sundance Selected Emmy-nominated documentary about what it’s like to be an heir to a fortune. He interviewed his friends including the Rockefellers, the Trumps, the whole nine yards, “candidly revealing the great privileges and the excess baggage that go along with their high net worth.”

In The One Percent, Jamie follows a similar line of questioning wherein he talks to some of the richest people in the country about their ethics, business practices, and everyday lives. Unsurprisingly, he upsets his family (and Warren Buffett) and reveals some complicated but deeply embedded systems of moral reconciliation for the economist who promoted the “trickle-down” idea to begin with.



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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3223 articles for us.


  1. Riese. I like the way you think. We should get married.
    I’m supposed to be writing a speech for a class this weekend, but now all I want to do is watch documentaries on Netflix.

    • Fuck yes this Bzzzy I am suppose to write a *slam* poem for coming out but I am filled with OWS rage. <3

  2. When I was in grad school, I taught an intro to Women’s Studies class for my department and every quarter I used to show “The Corporation” to my class. The only thing more depressing than sitting through that film was the way my students reacted. They were just like “Meh. It’s not like we can do anything and stuff costs less this way.” I kind of wanted to stab myself in the face.

  3. I see some storming of the Bastille happening and I’m excited. Also these are good choices. See also The Take about the occupation of factories in Argentina that were closing down and being left empty.

    • I guess watch The Take after you are good and angry because of the other ones because it’s all kinds of empowering to the worker and it shows that you can actually DO something about all this nonsense.


    *Chances are that I will just knit something sarcastic onto a pillow (about OWS, duh) case, which I will knit in the near future, like tomorrow, gurrl.**

    **If I do have sexy times with a nice lady-friend I promise to be gentle because consent to roughness matters.***

    ***I really hope this makes sense because I am aroused by this rage and want to be productive to society, like killing to birds with one stone (in the most vegan way of course).****

    ****I love you guys, for real.******^200

    Yeah I realize I am being so obnoxious with *…fuck school and endnotes/footnotes!!!!


  5. The list is great… I’ve watched most of the documentaries you mentioned there were few I hadn’t seen so I will be checking them out. If I still lived in the US I would have been there OWS. Sometimes I feel we (the common folk) need to be aggressive in order to be heard. How many times have WS been accused of fraud? Too many times and why is this still happening? I think it needs to be Bastille style revolution, lots of heads must roll (ok not literally but you know like locked up for good!) not just a couple of people going to jail a la Bernard Madoff (s/p). Just a thought!

    • Thanks for sharing the link. I watched the report and it made me super angry again! I feel like crawling under a rock, disappearing into nature so that I have nothing to do with this corrupt world!

  6. For all of you who feel like uniting here on AS, I made an Occupy group. Drop by if you like and share your ideas, stories and experiences !

  7. Great list, Riese.
    I’d also strongly recommend “I.O.U.S.A.” “Zeitgeitst” “Loose Change” and “Gasland.”

    I also recommend perusing stevebeckow.com every single day. Corporately owned mainstream media isn’t reporting anything of substance, and usually it’s also not the truth, because after all, who is going to be the one to talk shit about their boss? So it’s up to us to be critical thinkers, and find the info ourselves.

    I went to the OWS rallies in NYC when I was there, and perhaps surprising to the people who want everyone to be pissed off hippies, it is not a place filled with angry people; passionate, yes, but it feels unbelievably loving, compassionate, peaceful and intelligent. Everyone looks each other in the eye, the people’s mic is a thing of brilliance, and it feels more “safe” and warm there than any place i’ve been in this country.

    I think because…you know, this is a spiritual movement as well as political. This is what must happen now.

    I highly suggest going, in whatever city you’re in. It’s really something to behold, and when we all look back, this will have been a massive, beautiful moment in our history.

    • Another good place for non-corporate news is the Indymedia network. There’s lots of stuff on that main page linked there, plus if you scroll down there’s a list on the left side of the page with links to region-specific Indymedia pages for places all over the world. Lots of news and discussions of events of local importance on those pages.

  8. yes watch “maxed out”! we watched in my econ class. it will really make you hate credit cards. the stories are tragic but need to be heard. its been a couple years since ive seen it but it can still shake me to the core.

  9. TAPPED TAPPED TAPPED you need to watch Tapped. It’s not a ‘Damn the man’ documentary, it’s about bottled water, but everyone really really really needs to watch it. It’s on Instant View on Netflix, so there’s no excuses. WATCH.

  10. after being off occupying, i’m finally back to AS and so glad to return to seeing this article. definitely going to try to watch some of these. thanks for the suggestions, riese.

  11. I love this article. I watched 3 of the documentaries today. And I am angry and fired up about everything. Thank you for posting this

  12. Definitely recommend Gasland and Food, Inc for some more ultra-f*cked up corporate you-are-living-in-a-dystopia-get-angry stuff. The Cove is another really good one, but it’s more environmental than economics. …and yet also not. It’s really hard to believe how everything we do – from entertainment to food to health care to just living on this planet – is tied into banks and stocks and thereby politics and buying votes. But you have to believe it, because that is why everything is going to hell. Our species is so unable to get our heads into the big picture that we can’t give up our systems of power and privilege RIGHT NOW in favor of allowing ourselves, our people and our planet a better chance of survival.

    I really, really have to agree about the Michael Moore stuff. Fast forward over him accosting senators if you have to, because Sicko particularly and also Capitalism: A Love Story are HEARTBREAKING and SO IMPORTANT.

    The Corporation will also make you cry. At least, I seriously hope it does.

  13. I should have been sleeping long ago but I had to watch all these trailers, and then I got sidetracked watching the first couple parts of The One Percent that popped up as related links on YT. I definitely want to watch the rest of that one.

    The Kansas one scared me the most though. The extreme religious right gives me nightmares. *hugs my liberal urban bubble and never leaves* The old guy at the end who was all, “Gay marriage? Who gives a shit?” was awesome though.

  14. i know this comment is late to the game but it just occurred to me… “TOP TEN Queer/Trans Feminist Books for the Occupy Movement”
    1. “Without a Net: The Female Experience of Growing Up Working Class” Edited by Michelle Tea. This is a fav contemporary anthology of mine for illuminating some of the everyday experiences of economic injustices in the USA as lived by women and trans folks with a strong queer focus. Great to share across generations when talking about class.
    ….ok yall contribute to the rest of the list…

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